Friday, August 3, 2012

Leaving a Legacy

Happy Friday.

I am so tired. I cannot pull myself away from the Olympics at all. I find out during the day all the results then sit and watch them all night. Go USA. I would be interested to know if you blog readers like the Olympics, too. I think Americans love the Olympics. I know this because NBC spent $4.4 billion (that is with a B) for the TV rights.

Anyway, today I want to talk about your legacy. I often think about what are we here for. I want to tell you a story and then we can talk about it.

My assistant broke her ankle and she was in the hospital for four days. After surgery, they told her she couldn't put any weight on it for three weeks I think I told you but I needed to get a temp. I called all my assistant friends and put the word out. One of my friends called me with someone she knows, and she was able to help.

Things worked out pretty well. She was able to handle my dry sense of humor and I think she appreciated the type of dentistry I do. But about two weeks into her stay here, a 23-year-old man came in. He was a good looking kid that said his front tooth was loose.

At first, I thought this would be nothing. I asked him how long it had been loose. Two days. RED FLAG. I looked in his mouth and, sure enough, he had broken this thing horizontally at the gum line. I explained that he was looking a root canal, a post and core, and a crown. I saw his concern when I talked about cost.

I looked around and didn't see a parent or anything like that. I know that 23 is an adult, but usually this is still an age when parents come with them. I asked him how he felt about all of this. He said the he had an idea it was bad, but it was going to be hard to pay for. I asked him if he had family that was going to help him out with all this, and he told me he had never met his father and his mother is battling stage 4 cancer. He has a job at the local shooting range, but…

I told him that I was here to help and that I would do the best I could to keep the cost down. I told him that I would help him and if I needed to lower my fees to let him get it done, I would. I told him we could do a pulpectomy and do a temp post and core and see how long that would last just so it wouldn't be $2,200 at one visit.

He said that it might take him a month to save up the money to just do the minimum. So I said that if the tooth fell out before then, just to call me and we would work it out. After the kid left, this assistant said that she has been in assisting for 12 years and has never heard of dentist doing what I had done. She said she had never seen anyone give something away.

I was shocked. I give stuff away almost on a daily basis. Do you remember the Dunkin’ Donuts blog? Last week, a girl, 25 years old with no family, that worked at Taco Bell (for $8.10 an hour) came in with terrible teeth. She was so embarrassed about her smile that she was crying. There is no way she could afford to fix her teeth. I told her I would help her.

I want to help people. Don't tell me that am not making enough money because of it; I make good money. I have a talent that God has given me and I am going use it to help people. Sometimes for money and sometimes to help someone improve themselves. Simple as that. This assistant and I got along before ,but she definitely sees this practice in a different light now.

I have told you that undergraduate students hear about me and find out that I am someone that will allow shadows. They call me up and I let them come in and hang out. Well, for the last 8 weeks or so a young man was shadowing us from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Friday. He started shadowing at a couple of offices, but after a few of weeks, he said he only comes here now. He told us he liked it here and that he kind felt like he was in the way there.

What we try to do is, when a young, bright, enthusiastic person comes in wanting to be a dentist, well shoot, this is our chance to set the hook. We treat him/her like family. We laugh, we play, we educate. We put some gloves on this kid and make him hold the suction. We let him assist on an extraction. This means the world to these young, impressionable minds. I want this kid to love our profession like I love our profession.

So I started thinking. What impression are you leaving? What is going to be your legacy? Do you have kids in your practice that want to be dentists? How about kids that have gone into dental assistant school? Or hygienists?

Don't tell me NO. Don't tell me that you are not influencing anyone. Don't tell me you are not leaving an impression on anyone.

I had a 82-year-old man in my chair the other day. He is a good ol' boy and he always wears a cowboy hat. Before he left, I asked if I could try on his hat. I put it on and everyone got a kick out of Dr. John with a cowboy hat on. My staff got out their phones and were taking pictures of me. It was fun.

That patient came back this week and told me he left the office and went to the hat store and bought me a brand new cowboy hat. I just thought that was so awesome. It is great doing this job sometimes. It is so nice that someone would think of me enough to go out and buy me something. This is a picture of me and my new hat.

That, my friends, is what this is about. Having a talent and using that talent to help others, using it to make others better. And to get them to think about helping others.

Have a great weekend.



Evellaca said...

Great legacy!

Anonymous said...

john, i like your style and approach to dentistry which we all know can be very stressful at times. but despite all the daily worries ie crowns not fitting, staff issues etc. we as dentists are blessed to be able to do what we do!

Anonymous said...

Damn, you look very handsome in that hat-you should wear it often!


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